First, a shoutout to seminarian Mark Johnson, our first year theologian, who received the ministry of lector with his classmates on Friday, April 22, in the seminary’s Immaculate Conception Chapel. The ministry of lector is conferred upon those who prepare and proclaim readings from scripture at Mass and other liturgical celebrations.
Second, a shoutout to seminarians Julian Cuervo, Alex Pandolfe, and Eric Hosmer, our second-year theologians, who received the ministry of acolyte with their classmates on Saturday, April 23, in the seminary’s Immaculate Conception Chapel. An acolyte assists a deacon or priest, primarily in the celebration of Mass. He attends to the needs of the altar and may distribute Communion as an auxiliary minister.
Lastly, a shoutout to Deacon Jacob Ramos, our fourth-year theologian, who received a letter from Bishop Cote calling him to Orders for the Priesthood. Deacon Ramos is scheduled to be ordained a priest on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. Come if you can.
I asked Deacon Ramos to reflect on his seminary experience as he anticipates his priesthood ordination. Here is what he had to say:
Six years ago, I set out from Connecticut for the rural northern Maryland town of Emmitsburg to begin seminary formation. Honestly, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I knew the Lord was asking me to discern this call to the priesthood in a formal way, but it was all so new; a new state, a new university, a new group of classmates, and a new community to live, study, grow, and work with. I remember my parents telling me to call when I arrived and that if I needed anything they always had my back. Reflecting, I have realized that the support I had from my parents has always been a boon to me in trying something new or going into uncharted waters.
Over the years I found that this familial support and encouragement only grew. It grew because over time I was entering more and more into the larger family of the Diocese of Norwich. My brother seminarians, the priests, deacons, and lay faithful of the diocese all became bigger parts of my life. In each new parish assignment I was able to meet the families of the parishes, the elderly, the newly-weds, and those who were still seeking out their own vocations. Each year as I went back for a new year of seminary formation there were more and more people who were praying for me, encouraging me, and checking in on me through prayer cards and letters.
As I now look forward to June 25th, the day that Bishop Cote will ordain me a Priest of Jesus Christ, I am filled with excitement, joy, awe, and many other feelings. The uncertainty and the challenges that are inevitable in any vocation will come my way, but just as I was able to take the steps towards seminary without fear because of the support I had from my parents I know that I can enter the life of priesthood without fear because of the support I have known from so many people in the diocese.
I walk this path because the Lord Jesus called me as He calls each one of us to follow Him in whatever vocation He has prepared for us. When we say “yes” to the call of the Lord there will be uncertainty, there will be adventure, there will be suffering, and there will be unimaginable joy and beauty too. I look forward to thanking the Lord, with all of you, for the gift of Priesthood this June; you see it is not my own but the Lord’s, and it is His gift to me and to all of us.
Please pray for Deacon Ramos as he responds generously to the Lord’s call to serve God and our diocesan family.
If you think God is calling you or someone you know to a priestly or religious vocation contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Jonathan Ficara
Director of Vocations